On Writing A Series: Endings.

I read a really interesting review of Memory of Death over at certain review place (I know, I really shouldn’t, never good for the ego, because all we want is the LOVE), and like all reviews, whether they liked or hated the story, (beyond the simple – this sux, type) it was utterly correct. For the reader the Death Works stories finished with book three, they loved the ending, and thought that that is where it should end. I agree totally.

The moment I publish a story (after it’s edited, poked at, prodded, questioned, and my many punctuational faux pas corrected – any that are missed are MY fault!) it belongs to the readers. They’re free to build the rest of the story: they have to. Beyond the basic economics of it, what it boils down to is no reader, no story.

The story ends for each reader where they decide to end it. The fact that someone loved my first series enough to put this one away makes my heart swell (and break) a little. The fact that they feel they can talk about it, or address it, or argue with it, is the most awesome thing in the world for a writer.

Writing is an act of love for me. I doubt I will ever make a serious living out of it, but I scramble for time and space to make these stories, because I love doing it. Each one marks out a little more of the territory of my mind and my heart, and each is an invitation for reader-engagement with my absolute understanding that engagement will truncated at some point, that the reader ultimately chooses the ending.

I find that thrilling.

The first series split readers down the middle. Those that loved the ending or those that hated it (I think endings are important, I think they’re the thread that runs through a book – ok, maybe I’m stating the obvious).

I’m curious to see how people respond to this next arc. I like my twists, I like them big (sometimes ridiculously so) in this series, and I kind of like to think I’m heading in an at least slightly unexpected direction.

When I started the first book, seriously started it(I don’t count those missteps that took me several years of stumbling) I had a definite ending in mind (it’s written in one of the black notebooks behind me – no peeking!).

That ending flows through all of these stories, I’ve written it, I know where it is going. One day you might join me there, and we can look back and laugh, or frown. But this ends where you end it; I merely scribble it down. Everything after (if I am lucky or skilled enough) is a blessing or a curse from you, and both are an honour.

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PS I am still a little feverish, hope this makes sense. (Hmm, maybe that should be the title of this webpage).

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4 Responses to On Writing A Series: Endings.

  1. Tracy says:

    I admit, when I finished the third book, my heart sank. Mind you, it was perfect, the pinnacle…but what a long, lonely way back down to earth. As a reader, ok, as a person, I have trouble letting go. I fall in love with a character and I crave to learn more and more. I think it’s amazing you continued the story for people who weren’t quite ready to let go. With you to the end! You keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  2. Trent says:

    Thank you, Tracy! I hope you enjoy what’s coming next.

  3. Noah Sturdevant says:

    I’ll admit I didn’t like the ending, but I respected your choice to end the story how you wanted. I’ve got my fingers crossed that things are a little more upbeat this time around, but it is your brain and your world, so I’m prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

  4. Trent says:

    Hi Noah, damn my comments thingum! I can’t make any guarantees, but I think you’ll like the direction this one heads in. Everyone hopes for the best (and I’m not all gloom, I promise!).

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